The effect of immunocontraception on the behavior and reproduction of white-tailed deer

William J. Mcshea, Steven L. Monfort, Salah Hakim, Jay Kirkpatrick, Irwin Liu, John W. Turner, Lisa Chassy, Linda Munson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Behavioral and reproductive consequences of porcine zona pellucida (PZP) immunocontraception examined in a herd of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus, n = 30) from September 1992 to September 1994. Does were captured from a wild population and placed within either of 2 large (32-ha total) wooded enclosures. Does were administered either; (1) a single injection containing PZP-emulsified in Freund's complete adjuvent (FCA) and microphere-encapsulated PZP; (2) 2 injections of PZP-emulsified in FCA and Freund's incomplete adjuvant (FIA), 4 weeks apart; or (3) no treatment. Mature, spermic bucks (n = 5) were added to each pasture 4 weeks after the final PZP treatment, and reproductive behaviors and fawn production were observed for 2 years. Immunocontracepted females exhibited increased activity compared to non-treated females, presumably reflecting an increased number of estrus intervals. Similarly, enclosure bucks exhibited an extended breeding season compared to males in the surrounding wild population. The 2-injection PZP regimen provided effective contraception during both years of the study. The 1-injection PZP regime provided effective contraception only during the second year, following administration of a PZP booster. Histological evaluations of ovaries failed to reveal among-group differences in ovarian architecture. Contracepted-nonpregnant does gained significantly more weight than control females during the study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-569
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1997


  • Activity
  • Contraception
  • Humane
  • Hunting
  • Immunocontraception
  • Mating behavior
  • Odocoileus virginianus
  • Ovaries
  • Porcine zona pellucida
  • Reproduction
  • White-tailed deer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology


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